Healthcare IT Leaders Discuss ICD-10

The Health Information Management Systems Society’s (HIMSS) Dallas-Fort Worth chapter recently held another successful education event.  The event topic:  ICD-10.  In order to tackle such a complex and pressing subject, DFW HIMSS brought in the experts to inform and advise its members on the topic.

*Click picture above to watch the LIVE recording of the panel discussion.  

The 4 panelists for this ICD-10 event  for DFW HIMSS were as follows:

Vice President and CIO
JPS Health Network
With over 30 years of healthcare experience, Melinda Yates Costin is a pioneer in healthcare informatics.  She is an active industry speaker and has lectured at many well-known healthcare IT events including international events in Frankfurt, Germany; Geneva, Switzerland; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  Melinda is featured on the “Thought Leader Spotlight” page of this blog due to her participation in an Executive Thought Leadership interview, an initiative that helps share industry leaders’ insights to its followers.

Katherine Lusk, MHSM, RHIA
Senior Director of Information Management and Exchange
Children’s Medical Center, Dallas , TX
Katherine Lusk is the Senior Director for Information Management and Exchange for Children’s Medical Center of Dallas.  She received AHIMA’s Triumph Pioneer Award in 2012 for her organizational leadership in the implementation of the electronic health record resulting with her organization being the first in the State of Texas to achieve HIMSS Level 7 Analytics Award.

Debra Hughey
Vice President of Enterprise Applications
Baylor Scott & White Health
Debra Hughey is Vice President of Enterprise Applications for the newly merged organization Baylor Scott & White Health in Dallas, Texas.  In her role, Debra oversees information systems operations for Revenue Cycle, HIM, Regulatory, ERP and Imaging as well as multiple Clinical Applications for our inpatient facilities.

Julie Brandt, MBA, MHA
Information Technology Director of Ancillary Support Applications
Texas Health Resources
THR has 25 acute-care and short-stay hospitals that are owned, operated, joint-ventured or affiliated with the system, and Julie Brandt is responsible for ancillary systems supporting the EHR, primarily Laboratory, Radiology/Clinical Imaging, Cardiovascular, Pharmacy, and Health Information Management systems.

So… what did these well-qualified panelists have to say about ICD-10?  Read the summary below, or watch the LIVE event video to get the full re-cap.

What is ICD-10?

To summarize Melinda Costin’s definition, ICD stands for International Classification of Diseases, and ICD-10 is a coding nomenclature (the devising or choosing of names) used to name and describe diagnoses and procedures.  ICD-10 is the 10th revision of this international classification of diseases.  ICD-9 has been used since 1979, and is scheduled to be replaced by ICD-10 on October 1, 2014.

What is the definition of ICD-10… in layman’s terms?

At the HIMSS event, I heard someone describe the importance of ICD-10 in a very simple way for those with less IT experience:  “Coding to report medical diagnoses and inpatient procedures can be compared to placing an order at a salad bar.  If you placed your order with ICD-9 coding, you may only be able to indicate that you would like a large salad.  If you placed your order with ICD-10 coding, you would be able to indicate that you would like a large salad with tomatoes, croutons, and Italian dressing.”  This simple description actually painted a clear picture for me of why we need more advanced coding.  It will help us give a more specific diagnoses as well as more specific inpatient procedures.  When dealing with the growing worldwide population and combining that with the growing number of diseases as well as the growing number of diagnoses and procedures based on advancements in medicine and technology, it is clear that it is time to make the transition to a coding system that can record, transfer, and provide more specific and efficient data.

What is the benefit of ICD-10?

Better quality of care will be provided with ICD-10 due to the fact that healthcare providers will be receiving more information and in more detail.  As diseases and procedures continue to increase and become more complex, ICD-10 will give us enough room for new coding to accommodate more advanced coding in the future.  We will also be able to compare our nation’s quality of care with that of the rest of the world.  The countries leading the world in quality health care have already been using ICD-10, the first of those countries beginning use in the year 2000.  Once our country standardizes on the newest and most robust ICD coding alongside with the best healthcare providers in the world, we will be able to measure ourselves against the best and see where we can improve.  Once we recognize areas with improvement opportunities, we can make impactful changes that will significantly increase the quality of care in the United States.

“You can’t improve until you standardize.  Once you standardize, you can measure.  Once you measure, you can improve.”  – Melinda Costin, VP & CIO, JPS Health Network.

What are the biggest challenges in transitioning to ICD-10?

In regard to ICD coding and its meaning, everything you have ever learned is changing.  No ICD codes will remain the same, which makes it difficult to transfer our existing data.  Some crossover codes do exist, but there are many codes without an equivalent.  Because of the expanded size of the ICD-10 codes which will be used to communicate more information,  every system that currently speaks/talks to ICD-9 codes must change to be bigger.  The code length and numeric format will require software maintaining ICD codes to change for all vendors and payers.

“We are going to have to learn a whole new language.”  -Katherine Lusk, Senior Director of Information Management and Exchange, Children’s Medical Center   

Which areas need to collaborate the most in order for ICD-10 to successfully replace ICD-9 in October 2014?

  1. Physicians
  2. IT
  3. HIM/Clinical Documentation
  4. Finance/Billing
  5. Vendors/Vendor Products

What are some tips for a successful transition to ICD-10 from the 4 Healthcare IT Leaders on the panel who represent 4 of our region’s largest health care organizations?

As with most challenges, it is important to have a plan of action, a timeline associated with that plan, and goals set for each significant event on the timeline.  This timeline should include events such as Plan, Design, Develop, Test, Analyze, Integrate, and Analyze again.  Collaboration among departments within the healthcare provider organization is key, as well as collaboration among health care providers and vendors.  A great deal of training for all, and an appropriate use of resources.  Some tools available online that were identified at this DFW HIMSS event are:  GEMS (Medicare), a complete tabular list of codes, an Alpha list of codes, a table of drugs, a table of neoplasms, external causes of injuries, etc.

For more details regarding these action plans that are being executed by the Healthcare IT Leaders on the panel at this event, check out the LIVE recording from this excellent event.  The speakers really go into detail on what has helped them successfully transition to ICD-10.  This concludes the summary of yet another extremely influential event for the Thought Leaders in our region.  We are all in this together, and we will all succeed together for the advancement of quality care in our region and in our country.


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